Tuesday, May 16, 2023


WWW. WEDNESDAY asks three questions to prompt you to speak bookishly. To participate, and to see how other book lovers responded, click here

PS I can no longer participate in WWW.WEDNESDAY via that link because her blog won't accept Blogger comments. I mention this only to save you the frustration I experienced trying to link up.

1. What are you currently reading? New Tricks by David Rosenfelt. Andy Carpenter, lawyer and dog lover and my fantasy boyfriend, is right where he belongs: in a courtroom and looking out for a canine in distress. The book begins with an unusual and engaging premise, with Andy called upon to help decide custody for an insanely expensive Bernese show dog. Andy runs a rescue and (like me!) doesn't value one animal over another because of pedigree. He's going to do right for this dog as a companion, not as a commodity. But then the case starts getting really complicated as people around the dog start getting dead.

2. What did you recently finish reading? Meant to Be by Emily Giffin. This is Kennedy fan fiction, and I hated it. Hated it! I believe books like this are, literally, immoral.

Giffin takes the life of JFK, Jr. and makes only the most minimal changes. Joseph S. Kingsley III captured America's heart when he was just three years old and said farewell to his hero father during a nationally televised funeral. He grows up in the public eye, stalked by paparazzi. He graduates college and law school (barely) and then flunks the NY State Bar ... twice. He gets a low-paying job in the DA's office and has a high-profile relationship with a ditzy blonde actress. His much-admired fashion icon mother doesn't approve of his lifestyle. He adopts a mutt he names Thursday and is often caught shirtless tossing a Frisbee or a tennis ball to the dog in Central Park.

This is fiction because JFK Jr.'s dog was named Friday. See the difference?

He takes up with Cate, a former model who now works as a personal shopper for a major designer. She has a hard time adjusting to the public scrutiny. They take off together for a Kingsley family wedding in his small plane. Want to guess what happens?

Again, this is fiction. So what if Carolyn Bessette was briefly a model who began working as a personal shopper for Calvin Klein ... and suffered the price of fame ... and died en route to cousin Rory Kennedy's wedding?

Then there's the cover. To which I say, "OH, FOR FUCK'S SAKE!"

What are the odds?

The way the Bessette Cooper family is portrayed is deeply offensive. For this is the only area of the book where Giffin actually uses her imagination. It's unreasonable to expect the average reader to appreciate that Giffin strays from reality for Cate but tracks so incredibly close to the truth with Joe. So many will come away believing that the Bessette family was tawdry and scandalous. That's especially cruel when you consider Ann Freeman (Carolyn's mother) lost two of her three daughters in that plane crash. 

Shame on you, Emily Giffin. You're a good writer with a loyal following. You didn't have to stoop to this.

3. What will read next? Elizabeth and Monty: The Untold Story of Their Intimate Friendship by Charles Casillo.